How To Select a Motor for an Electric Vehicle

There are many different electric motors for EVs, and it can be confusing to select one for your needs. One thing to keep in mind is that every motor has a speed-torque curve.

When selecting a motor for your electric vehicle, here are things to consider to make the most out of it:

  • Understand the difference between a single, dual, tri, and quad motor.
  • Know the difference between a Motor X dual motor and a tri-motor.
  • Understand how a Dual All-wheel Drive (AWD) and Tri AWD work.
  • Consider the pros and cons of the most popular electric vehicles.

When choosing an EV motor, performance is an essential factor, so select a motor with high power density. In this article, I’ll be discussing the kind of motors you can choose, their specifications, and the most popular EVs.

How To Select a Motor for an Electric Vehicle 1

1. Understand the Difference Between Single, Dual, Tri, and Quad Motor. 

If you are looking to buy an Electric Vehicle, you’ve probably noticed that some vehicles have one motor while others have more. This can be confusing and make it harder to choose the right car for your needs and lifestyle.

These are vital considerations for choosing a motor:

  • The purpose for which the vehicle is intended.
  • Your budget.
  • What kind of terrain will you use (most likely).
  • Performance.
  • Efficiency.

For more information about the different motors and which options are best in different situations, carry on reading.


Singles are an excellent fit for any new EV driver. They are reliable, less costly to repair, and easier to maintain. This motor is ideal for general use with no special requirements. It also consumes less energy than a dual motor. 

This translates into less charging and a more extended range per charge. The performance of a single motor vehicle is usually adequate for day-to-day driving.

A single motor is sufficient for most applications if you are not planning to climb very steep hills with a heavy load of passengers and luggage. 


Dual motors are recommended for vehicles that you will use in harsh conditions requiring a powerful acceleration and torque, such as off-roading or driving in winter conditions with snow and ice. 

The dual-motor drive system has many advantages:

  • The front and rear axles have independent torque output capabilities to realize torque distribution at each axle to achieve traction control.
  • According to driving conditions, you can switch the driving mode between front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive.
  • The inertia force generated when starting is small, improving acceleration performance.

On a similar note, check out this related article that I wrote comparing Permanent Magnet Motors and Induction Motors. You’ll know the exact differences as well as the pros and cons.


Tri-motor vehicles have three electric motors at each end of the car and one in the middle. A tri-motor setup allows for greater control over torque distribution to be applied where it is needed most. This results in increased efficiency and better handling in corners at higher speeds.

If you want a fast car, the tri-motor is the one you want. The tri-motor will take you further and faster than any other electric vehicle on the market

Quad Motor

If you want an all-around car that can do everything well without breaking the bank, the quad motor is probably your best option. With four motors, it can pull heavy loads at higher speeds. 

It also provides more torque, making it easier to drive in rain or snow since it can help power through the weather conditions.

If you want more information on why cars have more motors than others, including the advantage of having dual, trio, or quad motors, check out this video from YouTube:

2. Know the Difference Between Model X Dual Motor and a Tri-Motor

The Model X was designed for efficiency and long-distance driving. The first production car to use falcon-wing doors, the Model X ranges up to 351 miles (566 km) and can accelerate from 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 3.2 seconds. Tesla’s Model X offers both dual and tri motors. Here is an explanation of the advantages presented by both motors.

Dual Motor

The dual-motor Model X 100D has 402 horsepower and 485 f torque which can get it from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph (249.44 kph). It has an EPA range of 295 miles (474.75 km) on a full charge. The dual-motor improves traction control and acceleration and provides a fully independent suspension for an exceptionally smooth ride.

Trio Motor

The tri-motor Model X P100D has 518 horsepower and 713 ft/lbs (479.11 m/kg) of torque which can get it from 0-60 mph (0-96.56 kph) in 2.9 seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph (249.44 kph). 

It has an EPA range of 289 miles (465.1 km) on a full charge. The trio motor is optimized for high efficiency and torque, low noise, and a longer lifespan than any other electric car. 

Both variants have all-wheel drive.

How To Select a Motor for an Electric Vehicle 2

3. Understand how a Dual All-wheel Drive (AWD) and Tri AWD work.

By definition, dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles have two motors: front and rear. A tri-motor AWD vehicle has two in the back and one in the front with three motors. This third motor enables these vehicles to torque vector, which allows for improved handling, acceleration, and efficiency. 

Here is a better look at the differences between the two:

Dual Motor AWD

The Model 3 Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive, or AWD, has two independent motors. The rear motor is optimized for range and efficiency. It’s powered by a high-efficiency 75kWh battery pack that sits low in the chassis to improve handling and minimize rollover risk.

The second motor is positioned upfront and delivers more powerful acceleration and more robust performance in icy climates. The two motors provide supercar acceleration from 0-100km/h (0-62.13 mph) in as little as 3.4 seconds.

Tri-Motor AWD

The Tri-Motor All-Wheel Drive has three independent motors; one at the front and two at the rear. The dual motors at the rear power each of the rear wheels independently, while the third motor powers the front wheels. This increases traction, especially on icy roads or offroad conditions where roads can be unpredictable and slippery.

Check out this video from Youtube to better understand how an AWD works:

4. Consider the pros and cons of the most popular electric vehicles.

The EV industry developed enormously, ensuring that almost any EV is a viable option for anyone.

Tesla S Model The Tesla S model is a fully electric car charged by plugging into an electrical outlet. The pure electric sedan has been rated the best safety pick plus by the Insurance Institute (IIHS) and received a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Model S includes Tesla’s latest active safety features such as Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection, navigation-based cruise control, and lane-keeping assistance.Performance:  Tesla’s all-electric drivetrain delivers incredible acceleration, making the Model S quicker than most sports cars. The top-of-the-line P90D features a “Ludicrous” mode that cuts the car’s 0-60 mph (0-96.56 kph) time to just 2.8 seconds. Range: The most recent version of the Model S can travel up to 315 miles (506.94 km) on a single charge, more than any other electric car has managed to date. Great handling: The Tesla Model S is no sports car, but it handles well compared with other large vehicles, even when you consider its total battery weight.It’s costly: The least expensive Tesla Model S starts at $70,000, but the average selling price is around $85,000.
Nissan LEAF Nissan Leaf is one of the best-selling electric car models globally.  It is a five-seater hatchback that can give you 151 miles (243.01 km) on a single full charge. Low running costs: The Nissan LEAF can cost as little as 2p per mile to run compared to 10p or more for a petrol or diesel equivalent.  This is because electricity is much cheaper than fuel, and there are fewer parts in an electric car which means more periodic servicing requirements. It’s easy to drive: The Nissan LEAF is a good choice if you are new to driving electric vehicles as it feels like a conventional car to move without engine noise and gear changes. It’s practical:
The Nissan LEAF has a big boot and can carry five people, making it a good choice for families.
Battery range: The Nissan Leaf has an estimated 151 miles (243.01 km) on a full charge, which is not much compared to other electric cars. This can be an issue if you plan on taking long road trips. Long recharge time: Although the Nissan Leaf only takes about seven hours to charge from empty, that’s still quite long compared with other vehicles. 
Audi E-Tron The Audi e-Tron, is the first fully electric SUV from Audi. 
With ample space for everyday life long-range and exciting driving dynamics, it is solid and innovative throughout — just like an electric car from the full-line manufacturer, Audi should be.
Handling: It handles like a sports car, which is impressive for an SUV.  Infotainment system: Audi’s virtual cockpit remains the best infotainment system to use.  The ability to customize it to show what you want is brilliant in multiple configurations. Efficiency:  An electric vehicle stands out because there is no engine noise or vibration. It’s so smooth and quiet that you can hear every little detail of a song playing through the sound system at any speed. Long Charging time: It can take up to nine hours to charge from empty to full.  It’s heavy: Consequently, it requires a lot of energy to get moving. 
Here is a table of the top three most popular electric vehicles, including their pros and cons.

If you found this article helpful, feel free to give us a thumbs up by sharing it on your social media platform of choice. You can also check out these 15 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

Contact Us if you have any questions or queries.

How To Select a Motor for an Electric Vehicle 3
Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.